Monday, August 27, 2012

about sulphur and wonderful islands

after a night's rest in messina, we made our way up to the liparian islands north of sicily.

first time we dropped the hook (i.e. the anchor) in a bay just under the vulcano of volcano. a quite impressive panorama, i tell you!
the next morning (after a rather uncomfortable night as the boat was rocking like a joyride) we went up to examine the crater. a rather exhausting walk later we got greeted by the most amazing view from up the top and smoke holes that had the most rotten sulphury smell coming out of them. (no wonder people associate the devil with those feral fumes ;) )

after a swim in 28,6° warm water we went up to the north of lipari and found a nice anchor spot there just under the old pumice stone mine.
it was the clearest water i ever swam amazingly turquoise, but hardly any fish.

another rocking night later, mark and i were rather buggered from the lack of sleep. for some reason, with the swell side on, the movement of a boat is much worse when being at anchor than being under way.

not only because we needed some rest, but also because of the heavy wind predicted for sunday to monday night, we decided to treat ourselves to a couple of nights rest in a marina in marina salina. when we pulled up, we should have known that there was a reason to why there was hardly any boats there....soon we found out, that this was owed to the price! but my husband has secret skills that only somebody selling carpets and camels could have developed - and he talked the marina-people down in price like it was the most normal thing to do! - good on him!!!!!

and god, was it a treat to have a couple of nights calm sleep! - we did a bus-trip around the beautiful island of salina, had the best granita in the world! and relaxed.

if there's something we learned in the last couple of weeks it would have to be, that our schedule for the mediterranean is very tight. at the moment we both are rather exhausted by rushing from one spot to the next, and decided to pick our spots for the less but explore better. let's see how we go!

approaching anchorage

the climb

nice view

stinky stuff

vulcano panorama

a quiet night in the marina on salina

la isola verde (salina) by bus

rinella on salina - a nice town square ;)

granita pesca e fragola....soooo gooood!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

mare ionio

now here we are! our first 2day2nighter...we've done it!

and i tell you what: it was great!!!! and in some respects easier then just over one night -  maybe because we settled in better, knowing it would be longer, maybe because we expected to be even more tired than the last times but actually got to sleep a bit more...?

maloo, mark and i started just before 4.00pm local time in lefkas to get through the lefkas-bridge, which only opens every full hour to let boats through.
the morning i had spent making a lasagne, as we were not sure which sea to expect - but our little experience taught us, that a good feed at night is essential to get through it. mark got the boat ready and kept on updating our weather files and as planned we lifted anchor and off we went.

the first hour we had to motor, since we had the wind right on the nose (we kind of expected this, as the island of lefkas is quite hilly especially on it´s west side)

once we were clear from lefkas, we had perfect wind from n - nnw sometimes wnw....and it stayed like that for almost the whole night - only once we had to start the engine for about 1hour, but otherwise we did mostly 7kn to 7.5kn. (i am still surprised how fast our barge can be)
a good thing i had prepared that dinner, because we had little but short and steep waves, and maloo was leaning on quite an angle. (i have to say, i was quite pleased with my veggie-lasagne with pumpkin, zucchini and melanzani - turned out really well!)

from 9.00pm onwards we started our shift-scheme which had me doing the first 3h on watch, then mark for 3h and so on.
we kept this scheme up also during the day until we arrived 45h later in messina.

the first night was beautiful sailing, going through sea-glow(!!!) and hardly any shipping traffic to dodge.

'till today i was always raving about the night-sky in the southern hemisphere having more stars then the northern one....well, i must have thought that, because it was only in australia i was surrounded by complete "nothingness" and therefore darkness. being on the boat with a perfectly clear sky i have to say, i probably never seen as many stars in the sky as the last couple of nights and up north we have a very pretty night sky too!

the next morning we were surrounded by nothing but blue and calm sea - no land to be seen even on the chart (only if you zoomed out of course)...unfortunately the wind also left us, so we had to put up the iron-sail for very long and becalmed 20h. we tried the gennaker, but there was even too little wind for this big sail.

the day just flew past using the chance for a good nap if we were off watch, and a good read if we were on watch.
we had a nice shower, cooked some yummy dinner and just enjoyed our time at sea - ending the day as one should: with a glass of very good white wine (me) and an ice cold beer (mark)
the second night arrived as calm as the day before had been and everything was quite relaxed until we got close to land in the early morning hours.
something special was to pass the royal clipper (the biggest sailing ship in the world!!!) - it would have been even nicer, if there wouldn´t have been approximately 20 tiny fishing boats , some with navigation lights (these are the easy ones) but a lot of them without navigation lights (and these ones have you sweating blood and guts) surrounding us.
quite an "interesting feeling" that is, when you all of a sudden hear an outboarder next to you in the absolute darkness (i had this feeling that there was something there, but was unpleasantly surprised to see my feeling was right!)
they are so little, that most of them are not even picked up by the radar.
at some point i was just hoping they´d see me early enough and get out of my way. with the binoculars almost constanly scanning the waters around me and the radar zoomed in to 1nm of scan around maloo, everything went well and at least kept me awake until the sun was up and day light made even the tiniest tinny visible.

the straight of messina welcomed us with 20-25kn of wind on the nose, but fortunately a current from behind. we put up some sail again and shot across to the other side, however with all the shipping traffic we we're forced to motor the last hour up the coast of sicily and as planned, we safely tied up in messina marina at around 1.30pm. we had a little stroll along the main road to the ferry port, paid way too much for this berth - mark is currently washing the salt-crust off the boat and tonight we will celebrate having a real sicilian pizza and a glass of wine. tomorrow we will head up the 40nm to volcano and start to conquer the liparian islands.

in total we did 264,38nm - cool, hey!?

leaving lefkada

morning hours approaching calabria

navigation hazards


crazy fishing boat (yes, there there are people up the top and at the front!)

on watch

Sunday, August 19, 2012

bye bye Ιόνια Νησιά

the last two weeks were full of swimming in crystal clear water, eating yummy food (especially the home cooked one....THANKS Terry and Gisi!!!!), lying in the sun, unfortunately motoring around as there was absolutely no wind, having fun with the crew and lazing about.

we tripped from lefkas to paxos and spent 4 nights in several anchorages and snorcheld through a cave on the backside of paxos, stopped for a swim in antipaxos, went down to menganissi, further on to fiskardo on kephalonia (one of my favourit spots), after to the south of lefkas - then porto spiglia on meganissi again (celebrating Sarah´s 18th b'day with cheesecake and baloons) and back to lefkas town.

all in all the places we stayed at where wonderful...i also learned though, that italian boat owners can be rather rough and unfriendly if things don´t go their way, and that greek folk music can seriously stuff a good night´s sleep!
the ionian islands are well worth a visit! ( but in our personal ranking, the turkish coast is still #1...let´s see how long this will stay valid for ;)

but every holiday has come to an end at some point...our crew from altenmarkt went back home and italy is calling us.
we plan to leave lefkas town today at 4pm hoping to arrive in messina on sicily around midday on wednesday. 
if evereything goes well, we will do our first 2days/2nights turn ...pretty exiting i tell you!
the wind forecast is in our favour, maloo is clean and we go!

gaios on paxos

fiskardo, kephalonia

three mermaids

look from spartakhori down to porto spiglia

parade in lefkas town

where is waldo?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

on holidays!

hello to all you out there!

probably you have noticed that we haven't posted any news for a's not because we have been in trouble (like that boat on the pic for example) - it's just owed to the fact, that stocked up the crew to 7  heads in total and enjoy a great holiday in the ionian islands at the moment, with lots of snorkeling, exploring, dinghy-riding, enjoying sunsets....yes, all that stuff that should make you jealous!!!! ;)

and we love it! - especially having Terry, Gisi, Sarah, Nina and Laura on board, who get our thoughts off all the boat-stuff and  - my god, i did not have to do the dishes since they're here!!!!

after picking them up on lefkas we made our way up to paxos (accompanied by a massive group of dolphins!) and slowly make our way from one super nice anchor bay to the next.

in the next couple of days we'll head down towards lefkas again and see what's there to explore.
so, probably not that much blogging to be expected from our side - sorry for that! - but don't worry: after our holidays here, the very first 2day/2night-sail is waiting for us, when we try to go from the ionians straight to messina. so - stay tuned;)

this yacht just got the wrong side of the buoys at the exit of lefkas - got stuck in the sand, but could free itself

a lefkas pelican

Thursday, August 2, 2012

boat graveyard II

out on a little dinghy exploration tour this morning i discovered some pretty nasty wrecks around the shoreline of vlicho bay.

hard to believe we are currently anchored in a nice little spot next door called tranquil bay...

tight mooring

Add caption

they'll tie up to anything around here

apparently the hard standing is cheap around these parts

anchor still looks ok

bit a anti-fouling could help

even the dinghies don't do so well

bad cockpit drainage

de-lamination issue

kevlar is not all it's cracked up to be apparently

transom could do with a lick a paint

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

bailing out

a little update on today´s unexpected events. unfortunately the sound isn't real good - the wind's just howling!
but to put it in a nutshell: our plan was to anchor in "one house bay"- a lovely little bay of atokos island, which we actually did. we set a landline ashore and had a good length of anchor out, when this thunder started about 10nm further east, quickly sending very strong gusts and a big swell.

all we could do was quickly cut the landline and get out of this bay, that all of a sudden got too small for the 8 boats in there.

off we went to search for a better spot - the decision to be made was heading south to ithaka or north to lefkas. as there was a pretty bad weather system to be seen south, we went for north - a very good choice, since we were followed all the way by the thunderstorm pushing us with gusts of up to 35kn.

we had a great sail doing over 8kn and lots of fun...poor dinghy didn´t make it up on deck though in the rush that we were in!

we found a nice calm anchorage now in tranquil bay, lefkas - surrounded by hundreds of other sailing boats, that also flew the weather.

doing 8.7kn speed over ground at 32.4kn of wind

an old port, a big bridge and lots of muddy water

from the ship-graveyard in trizonia (to stay fair, trizonia is not all about rotten boats... but lots of it) our maloo took us to the lovely old port of nafpaktos. the port is sooo tiny that it fits about 30 small fishing boats and one sailing boat. unfortunately that was not us - but we anchored just out of it, took the dinghy in and had a superb moccachino (which is a ice chocolate with an espresso on top here) for lunch (yes, this is how filling it was;))

as we didn't quite have enough that day we continued to messolonghi. but first we had to go underneath the very impressive rio-antirrio-bridge, the world's longest mutli-span cable-stayed bridge.
the wind had kicked in, so we had a lovely sail against the 2kn of current that flowed into the gulf of corinth (so against us) and went on to the lagoon of missolonghi.

going in there is a tiny bit hairy, because you got to go through a channel (fortunately well marked) and try not to hit any of the land-bit, that comes up to 1m underneath rather muddy lagoon-like water
surface. it is actually quite funny to go past people standing in the water right next to you - a bit perturbing though too.

in the lagoon we found another one of these strange marinas, that start off nice, but then who ever takes care of it must get bored with it all and start doing something else... this one was at least operated somehow, and we were allowed to pay;) - got water and electricity with a (what felt like 250km long) extension cable.

the most interesting thing in this marina was however, to be surrounded by lots of huge sea turtles that would surface every now and then next to your boat with a loud snort to breath! (unfortunately we didn't get a photo)


the old port entrance of nafpaktos (and a big bridge in the background)

the rio-antirrio-bridge

sailing with great scenery

little houses along side the channel of the lagoon of missolonghi

downtown missolonghi

now i know why they used to be called "kübel wagen" (i.e. bucket car) ;)